It was the aesthetic climax to a show at White Oak Music Hall that was already a winner musically. From their earliest tours, Chvrches have always been a solid act, but with the addition of a drummer on their last few touring cycles, they’ve become a great live band. It’s not just the energy that live drums bring to the table, it’s in the freedom that all the members of the band now feel to rock out.
This is no longer a band content to stand behind their electronics, performing perfect recreations of their studio material. Much of the new material from Screen Violence shreds; not in the “play as many notes as possible” sense, but in the “intricate, The Cure-esque speed strumming” way. This is fine because the ‘80s goth/new wave synth guitar sound is the greatest guitar sound of all time.
While not all of their older material rocks as hard, a couple of their older tunes have gotten welcome updates. A mid-set highlight was a ferocious take on “Science/Visions” that felt like they might create actual electric arcs on stage from the force of their performance. And while “Recover” and “The Mother We Share” might not have had the same weight, they held their own with the newer tracks.
Personal Bias: I do not have the heart of a poet. I gravitate to songs that are straight-forward and easy to digest. I will never understand what “The Mother We Share” is about. I just know every time I hear it my heart smiles.
The Crowd: Maybe it was just my imagination, but it certainly felt like the crowd was giving each other a little more space than usual, in light of recent events.
Overheard in the Crowd: I’m not going to reveal any details because I don’t want anyone to find out how you really feel, but girl if you hate your job so much you’ve got to find a new one. No one should feel that unhappy on a show night.
Random Notebook Dump: I’m officially “my legs cramp trying to walk up the stairs after standing for a few hours” years old.
So, How Was The Opener: Donna Missal made a lot of new fans last night. She’s got a strong voice that makes her stand out in the realm of that modern synth-tinged pop; she has a second gear she can hit that a lot of vocalists would kill to have.